According to statistics from the Ohio Behavioral Health Association, the third leading cause of death among U.S. teens is suicide.
"Be Your Future," a free presentation for teens, is set for 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at Tiffin Community YMCA. Karen Goshe of Firelands Counseling and Recovery Services is part of the Suicide Prevention Coalition in Seneca County and is to lead the program.
"We applied for a grant with the specifics of the grant being helping teenagers understand the correlation between drug and alcohol abuse and depression, which of course, also leads to suicide," Goshe said. "There seems to be an increase in depression ... and it's affecting individuals younger and younger."
The coalition wanted to use the grant for a seminar, directed at teens rather than professionals. The event is to feature two speakers sharing personal stories of their experiences. One has survived substance abuse and received successful treatment. The other is a parent who has lost a teen to addiction and suicide.
"It's not just something they're hearing on television or in a classroom, but from folks who have been through real experiences," Goshe said.
Following the talks, teens can break into small groups in which to discuss and process what they have heard.
Goshe cited an estimate that more than 20 million Americans age 12 and older who need addiction services are not getting them. Only 10 percent of those with addiction issues voluntarily get treatment.
"When you look at the importance of health and the importance of prevention, the younger we can talk to kids, the better. We can see a lot of young people view alcohol and drugs as recreational. ... They don't understand that we're talking about substances that affect your emotions and your mood," Goshe said.
Coalition members are trying to spread the word about the seminar via posters and word of mouth. Flyers have been taken to the juvenile court, Children's Services and pediatricians' offices.
Door prizes and refreshments are to be provided at the seminar. There is no cost to attend.
To reserve a seat, call Firelands at (419) 448-9440.